Summer Britcher is first luge athlete to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

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Summer Britcher is going to her third Winter Olympics.

The 27-year-old on Sunday became the first luge athlete to clinch a spot on the U.S. team for Beijing.

Britcher qualified via a combination of her sixth-place finish at last season’s world championships and a fifth-place World Cup finish Sunday in Winterberg, Germany.

Britcher was 19th and 15th at her first two Olympics in 2014 and 2018.

Her five career individual World Cup wins are a record an American luger. That includes the last win for any American in January 2018.

She is the lone American to make a World Cup podium this season, outside of the relay, taking second in a sprint event last month.

Erin Hamlin, who in 2014 became the first American to win an Olympic singles luge medal, retired after the 2018 Olympics.

The full U.S. Olympic luge team will be announced after next week’s World Cup stop. It will likely also include, among others, 2018 Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer in men’s singles and doubles and Emily Sweeney, the 2019 World Championships bronze medalist.

Germans Johannes Ludwig and Julia Taubitz lead the men’s and women’s World Cup standings. In doubles, Latvian brothers Andris Šics and Juris Šics are in the top spot.

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